Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Christmas

Want to Give a Good Christmas Gift?

Today on his ‘Cheap Seats’ blog, CJ Mahaney has some great tips for giving a meaningful type of gift this Christmas gift.

Christmas provides a wonderful opportunity to give gifts to those I love. I enjoy doing all I can to surprise them with a particular gift. I am sure you do as well.

But here’s what I’ve come to realize: too often I can put more thought into the gifts I buy them than I do the content of my conversations with them at Christmas. In fact the content of my conversation can be a gift of greater substance and of more enduring value.

By using words that are carefully and skillfully chosen, we can give the gift of grace to others. And Christmas provides us with many opportunities for conversations with a variety of friends and family. But are you prepared? … Read the Rest of the article here…

CJ Mahaney: A Gift Idea

Proverbs 11 on Money

The book of Proverbs is full of timely and ever-practical wisdom. Today as I was meditating on Proverbs 11, one thing that stuck out to me was the counsel of Solomon on money.

How timely this advice is for the fast-approaching Christmas season.

How are you spending your money? What types of things is your heart valuing / desiring / delighting in? 

Here is some eternal perspective warning against seeking earthly treasure and wealth.

Prov 11.4  — Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Prov 11.7 — When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

Prov 11.18 — The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.

And here is some counsel on how to go about investing your earthly treasures for true, spiritual good.

Prov 11.24-26 — One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

Prov 11.28 — Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

How will you spend this Christmas? How will you give this Christmas? Will you do so with a view to receiving in return, even if it’s just some warm fuzzies? Even the biggest hypocrites around can do that (Matt 5.46-47).

Or will you give to those who can’t give back? Will you give anonymously? Will you find those in need in your local church and seek to be a blessing to them–because you know it’s pleasing to God?

Here’s an encouraging thought to end with. Those who walk in blameless ways (like giving freely to those in need) are God’s ‘delight’ (Prov 11.20) As you seek to reflect Christ to the glory of God, ministering to the needs of those around you, you have this assurance: God himself takes delight in you.

What could be a more joyful thought than that?

Whitefield on the Celebration of Christmas

Quite contrary to Spurgeon’s take on the same holiday, here are Whitefield’s thoughts on the necessity of Christians celebrating Christmas:

Therefore, if we do but consider into what state, and at how great a distance from God we are fallen; how vile our natures were; what a depravity, and how incapable to restore that image of God to our souls, which we lost in our first parents: when I consider these things, my brethren, and that the Lord Jesus Christ came to restore us to that favor with God which we had lost, and that Christ not only came down with an intent to do it, but actually accomplished all that was in his heart towards us; that he raised and brought us into favor with God, that we might find kindness and mercy in his sight; surely this calls for some return of thanks on our part to our dear Redeemer, for this love and kindness to our souls. How just would it have been of him, to have left us in that deplorable state wherein we, by our guilt, had involved ourselves? For God could not, nor can receive any additional good by our salvation; but it was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world about 1700 years ago. What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid! No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church, with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love, and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, for ever and ever!

What Spurgeon Thought about Christmas

I find very few people funnier than CH Spurgeon. When delivering a sermon on December 23, 1855, Spurgeon opened (what would you get in your homiletics class if you used this as an introduction?) with these words:

This is the season of the year when, whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to think of the birth of Christ. I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping Christmas-day. There are no probabilities whatever that our Saviour Jesus Christ was born on that day, and the observance of it is purely of Popish origin; doubtless those who are Catholics have a right to hallow it, but I do not see how consistent Protestants can account it in the least sacred. However, I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt labouring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us; particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus…

With that he began his sermon on the incarnation of Jesus. Awesome!

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